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Difference Between a Coworking Space vs Office

Wondering what the difference is between a coworking space vs office? Read on for differences and similarities of a traditional office and a coworking space.

The environment you work in can have a huge impact on your productivity and your ability to do your job well. That holds true whether you’re a member of a team, you own your own business, or you’re simply a solopreneur trying to make a living. 

Coworking spaces have become extremely trendy because of this, as people push back against more traditional office designs and push for places of work that are geared for their comfort. After all, many people spend a significant portion of their time at their place of work, so it only makes sense that it’s a place that’s comfortable, healthy, and inspiring. 

Does that make traditional offices bad? Definitely not, both have their uses! If you are looking to open a coworking space, learn how to design a coworking space with this guide and learn how our 3D office space design planning can help you with your project.

What is a Coworking Space?

As the name suggests, a coworking space, or shared office space, is a place where multiple people work together in one room or designated area. It’s sort of an umbrella term that’s used to refer to a flexible workspace that is designed to make sure it’s comfortable for everyone, without compromising on the efficiency and quality of the office work. 

Coworking offices are usually designed with an open layout to promote the idea of collaboration and efficient communication and interaction between team members. Startup office design considers everything, from the traditional desk and chair for every individual, to a coffee or tea space, as well as a dedicated relaxation area, large office tables for teamwork, etc. 

A shared workspace is also equipped with all the basic necessities of an office including Wi-Fi, printers, scanners, and more. Coworking or flexible office spaces are definitely a more modern concept, designed for the fluid working world of today. 

What are the Pros and Cons of a Coworking Space?

Depending on how well it’s designed, many coworking spaces can offer amazing benefits. However, there are drawbacks too. Below we’ll explore a few of both.

Coworking Spaces Offer Greater Mobility 

An open, flexible office space offers a much greater chance of moving around than a 8 x 8 cubicle. With the recent focus on health around the world and the switch to ergonomically designed office furniture and accessories, it’s no surprise that coworking spaces have also gained popularity. 

Working in a flexible space or environment that allows free physical space for you to move around and stretch your legs every once in a while is undoubtedly good for both your physical and your mental health. 

Coworking Spaces Promote Collaboration 

A coworking office environment is designed, most of the time, to make it easy to collaborate with other people on your team. Being in the same meeting space as the rest of your team can make it easy to bounce off ideas and refine them, without having to plan a proper meeting and book a discussion room for it. Simply put, a coworking environment makes talking simple and good communication breeds good collaboration. 

Coworking Spaces are Ideal for Small Businesses 

Coworking spaces can be ideal for small businesses or teams. If the whole team is working on the same thing, there can be nothing better than to work together in a shared space where you can bounce ideas off of each other and work together to improve them. A small business that doesn’t have a lot of revenue might also benefit from the cost efficiency of a coworking space, rather than a traditional office and rental fees.

Coworking Spaces Can Become Crowded

Despite the many pros of a shared coworking office space, there are also some cons. A shared space can quickly become crowded if not managed properly. An open concept layout does not mean that it can fit in everything you want it to.

Respect the space and outfit it accordingly; this includes the number of people allowed in the space at one time, as well as the furniture you decorate the place with. Communication between a crowd can quickly turn into noise as well. 

Coworking Spaces May Compromise Individuality

If everything is done in a group fashion, it may compromise the sense of individuality of your employees. Moreover, there are situations where you might want to showcase a more professional image for your brand or company; in which case, a shared coworking space might not be the best place to do that. 

Coworking Spaces May Not Offer Enough Personal Space 

An office space composed solely of a coworking area may actually be a detriment to teamwork instead of supporting it. This is especially plausible if your office is working on multiple projects at one time, or has multiple teams tackling different aspects of a project. The need then for a dedicated space for personal or group discussion area can become quite stark. 

What is a Traditional Office Space?

Nearly everyone is familiar with the traditional office; you’ve most likely been in one, or at least seen one. The ground layout is similar to a coworking space; however, for traditional offices, the open layout is divided into cubicles and offices so that each employee has a personal area for themselves. 

So, a traditional office is an office space which is divided into designated sections for various people, as well as divided into conference rooms, personal offices, storage rooms, and more. Often a traditional office will contain some version of a kitchenette or a break room, too. Each room or space has its own furniture and technical accessories. 

What are the Pros and Cons of a Traditional Office?

Like coworking spaces, traditional offices have their own pros and cons too. Below we’ll explore what makes a traditional office great, and what makes them not so great. 

Traditional Offices Allow Privacy 

A traditional office, designed with separate cubicles for each of your employees, allows a lot of privacy for every individual, especially when compared to a coworking space. 

For people who value their privacy above everything and need a quiet space to work efficiently, such as a law office floor plan design, this could be an essential requirement in their work space. For others who thrive with more hubbub going on around them, a traditional office might feel somewhat stifling. 

Traditional Offices Promote Individuality

Another pro of a traditional office space is that it promotes individuality. Where a coworking space promotes collaboration above all, a traditional office space is designed to let an individual thrive on their own hard work, instead of sharing or working on the ideas of others. Whatever you come up with in your cubicle, comes from you and you alone, and you take all the credit.  

Traditional Offices are Strictly Professional 

As mentioned when discussing the cons of a coworking space, there are times where you might need a designated, professional working space while meeting with prospective or new clients. 

In such situations, a traditional office may be more ideal; it allows you to show your clients only what you want to show them, instead of having your whole work area and team right in front of them. The strictly professional vibe of a traditional office however, can be seen as both a pro and a con, depending on who you ask.

Traditional Offices Can Hamper Collaboration & Networking

While there are many benefits to a traditional office, which is why it was the goto office setting for so many years, there are also some cons. While it’s true that it allows for more personal freedom and privacy, in order to give you that, a traditional office design compromises on potential collaborations. 

If you never run into, or have to communicate with the other people in your office, how will you ever come up with collaborations and ideas? You have to talk to people for information and ideas to flow, and that simply doesn’t happen as effectively in a traditional office vs a coworking space. 

Traditional Offices Might Need More Management

Additionally, unlike a shared coworking space where all the office equipment and technical accessories are shared properties, in a traditional office space each of the divided spaces have their own things. However, managing all these things can potentially require more time and effort. So it’s important to consider carefully whether a coworking space vs office is most ideal for your businesses’ needs. 

Ultimately, trying to decide between a traditional office and a coworking office design is kind of like comparing apples with oranges. The two are quite a bit different, and serve different needs and purposes. Some businesses may even find some sort of hybrid design between a traditional office and a coworking space is most ideal! Do what works best for your business, and when you need it, we’re here to help with office furniture solutions for all your needs!